This work may not be copied, distributed, displayed, published, reproduced, transmitted, modified, posted, sold, licensed, or used for commercial purposes. By downloading this file, you are agreeing to the publisher’s Terms & Conditions.


Self-Injurious Behavior in a Community Sample of Young Women: Relationship With Childhood Abuse and Other Types of Self-Damaging Behaviors.

Angela Favaro, MD, PhD, MSc; Silvia Ferrara, PhD; and Paolo Santonastaso, MD

Published: January 15, 2007

Article Abstract

Objective: The prevalence of self-injurious behavior (SIB) in the general population is unknown. The present study aims to assess the prevalence and dimensionality of a large spectrum of SIBs in a community sample of young women.

Method: A cohort of female subjects aged 18 through 25 years resident in 2 areas of a large city was involved in the study, which was conducted from December 1996 to August 1998. Subjects (N = 934) underwent a clinical interview to assess the presence of SIBs, childhood sexual and physical abuse, suicidality, use of illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, and DSM-IV lifetime eating disorder diagnosis.

Results: About 24% of the sample reported some type of SIB.The factor analysis revealed that the different types of SIBs tend to group into 4 dimensions: 2 characterized by impulsive features and the other 2 by compulsive features. Body image disturbance (p < .01), emotional distress (p < .05), and suicide attempts (p < .01) were significantly associated with both compulsive and impulsive SIBs. In addition, the presence of impulsive SIBs was significantly predicted by a lower level of education (p < .05), lifetime eating disorders (p < .01), and childhood abuse (p < .05), whereas skin picking/self-biting was predicted by childhood sexual molestation (p < .04) and childhood rape (p < .005).

Conclusion: Self-injurious behaviors are common among young women. There is a significant association between SIBs and other forms of direct and indirect self-damaging behaviors, including alcohol abuse, use ofillicit substances, suicidality, and eating disorders. Further research is needed to better understand the nosology of this spectrum of behaviors.

Volume: 68

Quick Links:

Continue Reading…

Subscribe to read the entire article


Buy this Article as a PDF